The Seventh Seal (Rakim album)

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The Seventh Seal
Studio album by Rakim
Released November 17, 2009
Recorded 2007–2009
Genre Hip hop
Label Ra Records, TVM, SMC Recordings
Producer Rakim (exec.)
Matthew Kemp (exec.)
Slyce, Needlz, Y-Not, Nottz, Samuel Christian, J. Wells, Jake One, Nick Wiz, Neo Da Matrix, Lofey, Poppa Pill
Rakim chronology
The Master
(1999)
The Seventh Seal
(2009)
Singles from The Seventh Seal
  1. "Holy Are U"
    Released: July 14, 2009
  2. "Walk These Streets"
    Released: October 7, 2009
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
About.com 2.5/5 stars[1]
Allmusic (favorable)[2]
The A.V. Club (C)[3]
Los Angeles Times 2.5/4 stars[4]
Pitchfork Media (5.6/10)[5]
PopMatters (4/10)[6]
Slant 2.5/5 stars[7]
Spin 2.5/5 stars[8]
Time Out 4/5 stars[9]
Village Voice (mixed)[10]

The Seventh Seal is the third solo studio album by American rapper Rakim. It was released November 17, 2009 after several delays on Rakim's own Ra Records, TVM, and SMC Recordings and distributed through Fontana and Universal Music Group.[11] Considered a comeback album after a ten-year gap between releases, the album features the singles "Holy Are You," which was released on July 14, 2009, and "Walk These Streets" which was released on October 7, 2009. It features production from several renowned hip hop artists, including Nottz, Needlz, Jake One, and Nick Wiz.[12]

The album sold 12,000 copies in the United States by November 22, 2009, according to SoundScan.[13] Upon its release, The Seventh Seal received generally mixed or average reviews from most music critics, based on an aggregate score of 59/100 from Metacritic.[14]

Background[edit]

Recording[edit]

The original title for the album was Oh, My God, with the original release date set for 2002, but after he signed with Dr. Dre's Aftermath record label, he eventually left. The official reason for his departure from Aftermath were creative differences and the different work habits of Dre and Rakim.[15][16]

After leaving the label, Rakim began recording new songs for the album and Dr. Dre allowed him to keep the songs that he originally produced.[17]

Then in 2007, Rakim decided to record completely new songs for the album. In an interview with Billboard on July 13, 2009, when asked about if this album contains any material from the unreleased album he did with Dr. Dre, he stated "No, that's locked down in the lab for now. This is me live from New York City, everything brand new."[18]

Music[edit]

Concept[edit]

In an interview with Billboard in 2007, when asked about story behind the title, Rakim said,

The number 7 has a lot of significance. The seventh letter of the [Supreme] alphabet is G—that stands for God. There are seven continents, seven seas. The Seventh Seal deals with that and also some revelations in the Bible. Some call it the end of the world, but for me it's the end of the old and the beginning of the new. By me naming my album that, I'm using it metaphorically in hip hop. I'm hoping to kill the old state of hip hop and start with the new.[19]

In an interview in early 2009, when asked about the new generation of hip hop fans, Rakim said,

I don't accept that the new generation is looking for anything different than what we've always been looking for. Depending on the moment, they want bangers that make them crack their neck, they want tracks that put them in a zone where they can sit back and chill. The ladies want something that makes them feel sexy and loved. And everyone wants something that makes them think a little bit-at least sometimes. Every generation wants that real hip-hop. And I've always been able to bring that.[20]

In another interview with Billboard in 2009, he stated,

The seals are from the Bible—Revelations and the coming of the Apocalypse. But Islam, Judaism, Christianity—all have a version of the same events. The Lion of Judah breaks the seven seals one by one, each imparting knowledge and inflicting catastrophe, ending with seven trumpets announcing the end of Times. After the Apocalypse, God rises from the ashes to recreate the Kingdom, taking only the greatest elements from the past with them. When you look at Hip-Hop, I want to do that: to spit fire and take our best from the ashes to build our kingdom; to recognize all the regional styles, conscious lyrics, the tracks, underground, mainstream, the way we treat each other. Lose the garbage and rebuild our scene. I've always tried to insert consciousness and spirituality in my records, interpreting the writings of all cultures and religions and how they apply to life in modern times.[18]

Production and guests[edit]

Rakim confirmed that The Seventh Seal would have 14 tracks, with the main guests being Maino, I.Q., and his own daughter Destiny Griffin.[12]

Several songs on the album were produced by longtime Rakim collaborator Nick Wiz and featured beats from Nottz, Needlz, SR. Shakur Jake One, and from Italian rapper/producer Bassi Maestro.[12]

Track listing[edit]

The track listing was confirmed by Defsounds and Myspace.[21][22]

# Title Producer(s) Samples and notes Time
1 "How to Emcee" Slyce, YSAE Additional vocals by Tracey Horton 4:13
2 "Walk These Streets" (Feat. Maino) Needlz Additional vocals by Tracey Horton 4:04
3 "Documentary of a Gangsta" (Feat. IQ) Soundsmith Productions (Y-Not) Additional vocals by Keith Alexander Jr. Fogah, Mark Ruglass 4:12
4 "Man Above" (Feat. Tracey Horton) Nottz 4:26
5 "You and I" (Feat. Samuel Christian) Samuel Christian, J Wells 4:42
6 "Won’t Be Long" (Feat. Tracey Horton) Jake One Bass, Keys and Guitar by G Koop
4:49
7 "Holy Are U" Nick Wiz Cuts by Slyce

Additional writing by David Axelrod

Song samples The Electric Prunes "Holy Are you"

4:06
8 "Satisfaction Guaranteed" Neo Da Matrix 4:26
9 "Working for You" Bassi Maestro Song samples Robert Cray Bands "I Forgot to be Your Lover"
Original song written and performed by William Bell
4:18
10 "Message in the Song" (Feat. Destiny Griffin) Nick Wiz, Lofey 3:52
11 "Put It All to Music" Poppa Pill 4:02
12 "Psychic Love" Nick Wiz 3:28
13 "Still in Love" Nick Wiz 2:42
14 "Dedicated" Nick Wiz "Don't Speak" by No Doubt 3:35
15 "Euphoria" (Feat. Styles P, Jadakiss & Busta Rhymes) Ty Fyffe Exclusive bonus track via www.rakim.com only, announced to the buyers of the album 4:46

References[edit]

  1. ^ Adaso, Henry. Review: The Seventh Seal. About.com. Retrieved on 2009-11-21.
  2. ^ Jeffries, David. "Review: The Seventh Seal". Allmusic. Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  3. ^ Martins, Chris. Review: The Seventh Seal. The A.V. Club. Retrieved on 2009-11-24.
  4. ^ Weiss, Jeff. Review: The Seventh Seal. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2009-11-17.
  5. ^ Breihan, Tom. Review: The Seventh Seal. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on 2009-12-02.
  6. ^ Martin, Andrew. Review: The Seventh Seal. PopMatters. Retrieved on 2009-11-20.
  7. ^ Cataldo, Jesse. Review: The Seventh Seal. Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-11-17.
  8. ^ Reeves, Mosi. Review: The Seventh Seal. Spin. Retrieved on 2009-11-15.
  9. ^ Serwer, Jesse. Review: The Seventh Seal. Time Out. Retrieved on 2009-11-17.
  10. ^ Mlynar, Phillip. Review: The Seventh Seal. The Village Voice. Retrieved on 2009-11-18.
  11. ^ "Hip-Hop Legend RAKIM Drops “Holy Are You” On July 28, 2009. Lead Single From Long Awaited Album THE SEVENTH SEAL". 2003-07-18. Retrieved 2003-08-23. 
  12. ^ a b c Paine, Jake (2003-09-24). "Details Emerge On Rakim's Seventh Seal". HipHopDX. Retrieved 2009-09-25. 
  13. ^ Hip Hop Album Sales the Week Ending 11/22/2009. HipHopDX. Retrieved on 2009-11-25.
  14. ^ The Seventh Seal (2009): Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-11-25.
  15. ^ Carpenter, Troy (2003-07-17). "Rakim Parts Ways With Dre's Label". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  16. ^ "Rakim ‘The Seventh Seal’ Album Details". HHC Digital. 2003-08-13. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  17. ^ "Rakim The Seventh Seal Review". 2003-09-15. Retrieved 2003-09-15. 
  18. ^ a b Mitchell, Gail (2009-07-13). "Rakim Ready To Release 'The Seventh Seal'". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  19. ^ "Rakim Wrapping New CD, Touring With Ghostface". About.com. Henry Adaso. 7-10-11. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  20. ^ "Rakim Wrapping New CD, Touring With Ghostface". About.com. Nielsen Business Media. July 14, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  21. ^ "Rakim ‘The Seventh Seal’ Album Snippets & Tracklist". 2009-10-19. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  22. ^ "Rakim 'The Seventh Seal' album stream". 2009-11-10. Retrieved 2009-11-10.